LaVar Ball has been teasing his disdain for Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton for last several months, but that teasing turned into a full blown attack after LaVar launched heavy criticism in Walton’s direction during an interview with ESPN Sunday morning.
Among the many things LaVar told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman is that the young Lakers don’t want to play for Luke Walton anymore. Ball feels that Walton is too young for the position, isn’t using his son Lonzo correctly, no longer connects with the Lakers and wouldn’t be able to coach the team if they land a superstar this coming offseason.
Los Angeles media caught up with Lonzo Ball during shootaround on Sunday, and, of course, asked him about LaVar’s anti-Walton comments. While Lonzo didn’t necessarily agree with LaVar’s analysis, he didn’t offer a ton of support for his head coach, either. When asked about Walton, Lonzo claimed he’ll “play for anybody.”
It’s clear that LaVar Ball believes that the Lakers need a new head coach, and his stance isn’t completely without merit. The Lakers have lost nine straight and are currently 11-27. The Atlanta Hawks are the only team in the NBA with a worse record this season. When you’re at the bottom of the NBA like the Lakers are, it’s not unheard of to question whether or not your current head coach is the right man for the job. That’s life as a head coach in the NBA.
However, coming off the heels of LaVar’s criticism, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne is reporting that the Lakers are not only supporting Walton as their head coach, but that potentially firing Walton isn’t even a conversation that they are willing to have right now.
This should come as good news to Walton, as coaching young NBA players is abundantly easier when the locker room knows the organization is invested in the coaching staff long-term. What’s more alarming is that the Lakers are allowing LaVar Ball’s criticism to initiate a response, and there are no signs of this back-and-forth slowing down anytime soon.